Wolf circa 1980
|Birth name||Kathryn Louise Allen|
January 27, 1942|
San Francisco, California
|Died||December 10, 1986
San Francisco, California
|Labels||Owl, Kaleidoscope, Rhino|
Kate Wolf (born Kathryn Louise Allen, January 27, 1942 – December 10, 1986) was an American folk singer and songwriter. Though her career was relatively short, she had a significant impact on the folk music scene, and many musicians continue to cover her songs. Her best-known compositions include "Here in California," "Love Still Remains," "Across the Great Divide," "Unfinished Life," and "Give Yourself to Love."
Born in San Francisco, she started her music career in the band Wildwood Flower before recording ten records as a solo artist. Her songs have since been recorded by artists such as Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris (whose recording of "Love Still Remains" was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1999). An important mentor, friend and touring companion was Utah Phillips.
- Back Roads (1976) (billed as Kate Wolf and the Wildwood Flower)
- Lines on the Paper (1977)
- Safe at Anchor (1979)
- Close to You (1980)
- Give Yourself to Love (1982)
- Poet's Heart (1985)
- Gold in California – A Retrospective of Recordings (1986)
- The Wind Blows Wild (1988)
- An Evening in Austin (1988)
- Looking Back at You (1994)
- Carry It On (1996)
- Weaver of Visions – The Kate Wolf Anthology (2000)
NOTE: Wolf (along with fellow musician Don Coffin to whom she was married at the time) also appears on the 1973 album We Walked by the Water by folksinger Lionel Kilberg. This album was re-released in 1995 under the title Breezes and credited to Wolf alone on the front cover. Her family were not thrilled about this and have explicitly gone on record as stating that Wolf did not consider this album representative of her work.
Both We Walked by the Water and Wolf's own album Lines on the Paper are dedicated to the late Gil Turner, who Wolf and Don first met via Lionel Kilberg. Wolf subsequently recorded her own version of Gil's much-covered folk anthem "Carry It On."
A number of these albums were done in collaboration with Bill Griffin.
Kate Wolf's music is celebrated each year toward the end of June at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival, held at Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, California. Several thousand guests attend this outdoor festival, which is regularly headlined by popular folk musicians such as Nina Gerber and Greg Brown. The festival traditionally closes with Wolf's song, "Give Yourself to Love."
Tributes and covers
- Scottish-born Australian singer-songwriter Eric Bogle wrote "Katie and the Dreamtime Land," one of his most popular songs, as a tribute to Wolf.
- Greg Brown wrote and performed "Kate's Guitar," which is available on his 2004 album, In the Hills of California, recorded live at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival.
- 'Gaelic Americana' singer Kyle Carey covered Kate's song "Across the Great Divide" which is on her 2014 album North Star.
- In 1998, a tribute album entitled, Treasures Left Behind: Remembering Kate Wolf, was released by Red House Records. The album contains Kate Wolf songs performed by various artists, and the booklet contains tributes and remembrances about her.
- Track listing
- "Give Yourself to Love" (Kathy Mattea)
- "These Times We're Living In" (Dave Alvin)
- "Friend of Mine" (Nanci Griffith)
- "Sweet Love" (John Gorka)
- "Here in California" (Lucinda Williams)
- "Like a River" (Peter Rowan & The Rowan Brothers)
- "Carolina Pines" (Cris Williamson & Tret Fure)
- "See Here, She Said" (U. Utah Phillips)
- "In China, or a Woman's Heart" (Rosalie Sorrels)
- "Tequila and Me" (Greg Brown & Ferron)
- "Back Roads" (Nina Gerber)
- "Cornflower Blue" (Eric Bogle)
- "Love Still Remains" (Emmylou Harris)
- "Thinking About You" (Terry Garthwaite)